Friday, November 26, 2010

Eggnog

When it all boils down to it, there are two kinds of people on this planet; those who love eggnog and those who hate it.  I love eggnog - especially when it's homemade.  This is my go-to recipe.  It's perfect for the holidays or whenever you want to your fix.

Eggnog

8 Eggs, separated
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
2 cups Heavy Cream
8 cups Milk
8-10 ounces Bourbon (or Brandy, if you want to make Rompope)
2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
Fresh Nutmeg

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of white sugar until the mixture becomes cream and the sugar is dissolved.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with remaining sugar until thickened.  In yet another bowl, beat the cream just until thick - Do not over beat.  You want the cream slightly fluffy but still dense, not airy.  Mix the cream with the yolk mixture and fold in the egg white mixture.  Stir in milk, bourbon, vanilla and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours.  When ready to serve, mix thoroughly and grate fresh nutmeg over the top.  Enjoy!
 


Homemade Eggnog.


Monday, November 22, 2010

The Tractor Room (San Diego – Hillcrest)

StarStarStarStarStar


This is as good a meal as you are ever gonna have.  It's just good down-home cooking!

The portions are massive!  It's kind of a shame too because I like to try a variety of things when I go to a new restaurant.  Sadly, the entrees here didn't permit me to do that.  But first, the libations;

We went for brunch on Sunday around noon.  There was no wait but the restaurant was practically full.  We tried 3 "morning cocktails."  We had the Watermelon Basil Daquiri, Grapefruit Martini and the Cesar Bloody Mary.  Each drink was awesome.  My favorite - the Grapefruit Martini.  It was featured in a San Diego Publication (but I do not recall which one). This drink was the perfect morning drink.  I highly recommend it.  - 5 stars

The food was on par with the drinks.  Again, the portions are humongous!  In terms of quantity, you are definitely getting what you pay for.  Some restaurants will serve you a heaping pile of food for 10 bucks but it'll taste like crap (http://thegoldenspiral...).  Other establishments serve "EXPLOSION OF FLAVORS," compressed into a single droplet and served in a grapefruit spoon (http://foodsnobblog.fi...) and charge you a bundle for it.  Thanks! Please come again!  You'll have none of that baloney here.

You arrive hungry to the Tractor Room and you'll leave full and smiling.  I ordered the Prime Burger.  The patty was juicy but lacked a little salt n pepper.  The bun was lightly toasted, buttery and delicious.  I also sampled the Roasted Chicken Hash served with Cornbread.  I enjoyed the cornbread and I appreciated the fact that they prepared it with actual kernels of corn in the batter.  The Chicken Hash was served with 2 eggs over-easy, 3 thick spears of tender asparagus, strawberries and a wedge of watermelon.  Prices vs Quantity and Quality = 5 stars.

Will I return?  You betcha!  And if it's true what they say about your sister (Hash House A Go Go) and she's anything like you, I'll be paying her a visit soon too! 



Antler Chandelier.



An example of the Taxidermy present throughout the restaurant. 



Watermelon Basil Daquiri (left) & Grapefruit Martini (right).


 
Roasted Chicken Hash – Crispy Potatoes, Fresh Onions, Garlic, Fresh Asparagus, House Roasted Chicken, 2 Over Easy Eggs, Strawberries, Watermelon Wedge and…    



…Cornbread.  All served in Cast Iron Pans.


 
Prime Burger – Smoked Mozzarella Cheese, Hardwood Smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Red Onion served on a Fresh Bun with Cross-Cut Fries. 



Cesar Mary – Sky Vodka, Clamato, Gren Pepper Tobasco, Green Olives, Romaine Lettuce Spear, Anchovies & Fresh Horseradish.

 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

1886 @ The Raymond Restaurant (Pasadena)

StarStarStarStar

I was hoping 1886 would have been out of it's "soft opening" stage as they have been open for a few days now.  Unfortunately, they are not so they are still ironing out the kinks.

My plan was to beat the mad rush of people at this new bar before the word spread.  As it turns out, I might have outsmarted myself.

I went on Friday around 8pm and while every table inside was occupied, the bar itself was empty.  It was then that I learned from Greg, one of the bartenders, that they are not [yet] offering all of the cocktails that I had read about.  Instead, they had an abbreviated drink menu consisting of 6-7 cocktails.  Eventually, their menu will consist of 15+ drinks - 2 or 3 that you can order as a punch bowl or "a la carte."

I tried The "Orange Grove" & "Wall Paper."  The Orange Grove is a simple and refreshing concoction of freshly squeezed orange juice, gin and tonic.  I preferred the sweet and mildly spiced Wall Paper with vanilla simple syrup, jalapeño and cachaca.

For my 3rd drink, I was bummed out when I tried ordering the Honey-Nut-Old-Fashioned (peanut-infused bourbon, honey and bitters).  At roughly 9pm, They were out of the infused bourbon.  WHAT??  How are you going to run out of ingredients so early in the night?  It is opening weekend and you run out so early into the night?  Did the weekend catch you by surprise or something?  Well, needless to say, I was disappointed when I learned that their would be no Cheerios flavored libation for me.  I went with an Old Fashioned instead and while it did the trick, it missed the spot. :o(

I'm not certain if all the cocktails are $12 but the three that I ordered were all twelve bucks. Punch bowls, of course, would cost more.        

I was pleasantly surprised to learn, however, that they offer a few snacks.  They average about $10 per plate.  We ordered some Chicken n Ham Croquettes.  Aside from that, they also offer Grilled Octopus, Cheeseburger n Fries, Pork Belly and 2 or 3 more appetizers.

The room the bar is in, is really small.  I'd say it is similar in size to the room inside The Varnish.  The room has 6 tables or so and one communal table for 8 people.  Outside, they have a patio with 3 small tables, 1 bench with pillows and 1 patio heater.

As far as parking is concerned, skip the valet and save yourself some tip money and park on Fair Oaks.  There are no meters and plenty of parking is available across the street if you can't find a spot directly in front of The Raymond (the restaurant the bar is in).

I will make it a point to return some time after their menu is finalized.  Til then, 4 stars seems about right.



1886 is inside The Raymond.



 Orange Grove (left) - OJ, Gin & Tonic Water. Wall Paper - Cachaca, Vanilla Syrup & Jalapeño. 


 
Chicken and Ham Croquettes.



Old Fashioned.
 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

La Puerta (San Diego – Gaslamp)

StarStar½



Angel of Harlem (left) – Hibiscus Tequila, Muddled Strawberry & Serrano Chile, Lime Juice, Agave Syrup, Liquor 43 & Bubbles.  Purple Haze (right) – Frozen Margarita meets Sangria. 



Carne Asada Fries – French Fries, Carne Asada, Cheese, Grilled Onions, Sour Cream, Guacamole & Pico de Gallo.


Nobel Experiment (San Diego – Downtown)

StarStarStarStar½



We meet again.



The Bar.


 
Digital Picture Frame.



Ceiling.



Bramble – Muddled Blackberries, Gin, Lemon Juice & Blackberry Liquor.



Gold Rush – Bourbon, Honey & Lemon Juice.


 
Mezcal Based Drink with Dolin Blanc Vermouth & Orange.


Currant (San Diego – Downtown)

StarStarStarStar



Passionfruit Caipirinha (left) & Sangria.
 


Wild Salmon Tartare – Crispy Gaufrette Potatoes, Grated Hardboiled Egg, Capers, Shallots & Fresh Dill.



Moules Frites – Steamed Mussels, Tomatoes, Shallots, White Wine Broth & Thyme Fries.



Popcorn of the Moment – Fresh Popped Corn, Feta Cheese. Kalamata Olives & Pancetta. 


The Harp (San Diego – Ocean Beach)

StarStar

We only came here because Hodad's had a line stretching around the block and Gallagher's down the street only offered alcohol but no food.

I ordered the Fish n Chips and the dish did not automatically come out with tartar sauce or malt vinegar.  I had to ask for tartar sauce.  The only lemon that came with the fish n chips were 2 thin lemon slices used to adorn the plate.  The fish was cooked right but it was under-seasoned.  The "chips" just did not taste fresh and were served barely warmed through. - 1.5 stars

The Fish Sandwich was a little better and the fries that came with that order were hot and crispy. - 3 stars
   
Would I return?  Only for a pint.  Based on the food I ate, I'll pass.



Fish Sandwich.


 
Fish n Chips.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Get Shaved Truck (Los Angeles)

StarStarStarStar

1 truck/van operation.

1-2 appearances daily (Mondays can be the
exception though).

Really yummy Shaved Ice at affordable prices.  The Ice is powdery soft and immediately melts in your mouth.      

4 sizes available.

8 Pre-Designed Ices for people to pick from.

A bunch of combinations to design your shaved Ice with, if you want to go that route.

Shaved Ice usually pairs up with other food trucks (usually Kogi)  so you can get food and dessert all in one shot.

See you again in the dog days of summer!




 Shaved Ice Van.



Monkey Brains – Shaved Ice, Strawberry, Banana, Sweetened Condensed Milk & Vanilla Ice Cream.


 
 Let Them Eat Cake – Shaved Ice Flavored with Blue Vanilla, Coconut, Pineapple, Sweetened Condensed Milk & Vanilla Ice Cream.   


I forget to take my camera. Sad These photographs are of  what we ate but they were taken by Rose and Janelle.  Great pictures by the way, girls! Wink